Postdoc position in Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland

We are seeking a postdoc for a project “Linking socio-economy to biodiversity in farmland”. This position is funded by National Science Centre in Poland (NCN).

  1. The project and the working environment

1.1. The project

Farmland biodiversity in Europe is increasingly often associated with human settlements (small towns, villages and single farmsteads) because croplands and grasslands are intensively managed for food production, thus they do not provide necessary resources for wildlife. Farmland birds and mammals are good examples: many species belonging to these groups occur mainly or exclusively near human settlements (e.g., barn owl, white stork, long-eared bats, house mouse, etc.) and old villages are increasingly often considered as biodiversity hotspots. Unfortunately, almost nothing is known about the relationships between this biodiversity occurring near human settlements and the socio-economic profiles of local human societies. In this project we address this relationship. Specifically, we explore poverty-biodiversity correlation, we look for biological indicators of human health status, we link ecological knowledge of farmers and their attitude toward biodiversity. We hope that the project will bring new knowledge on the relationships between human social and economic status and biodiversity patterns and conservation. You will find additional information in Rosin et al. 2016. J. Appl. Ecol. 53,1363-1372; Šalek et al. 2018. J. Appl. Ecol. 55,1908-1918; Żmihorski et al. 2020. Sci. Total Env. 741, 140407.

 

1.2. The working environment

Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences (MRIPAS) in Białowieża, founded in 1952, conducts research in the field of ecology, ethology, morphology, population genetics as well as population management and conservation of mammals and other terrestrial vertebrates. The mission of the Institute is to acquire, advance, and disseminate knowledge of natural patterns and processes in order to improve the scientific basis for effective nature conservation activities and sustainable development. We focus mainly on Białowieża Primeval Forest (UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site) as a study area, but also on other regions of Poland and Europe. The Institute employs 60 people, including researchers, PhD students, and qualified technical and office staff. The postdoc will be part of the existing international research group (two PhD students, two technical employees, external bat and bird experts, and the leader – Michał Żmihorski) working in the project.

  1. Description of postdoctoral position and application requirements

We are looking for highly motivated postdoc, holding a PhD in ecology or similar (details below), interested in ecology and conservation biology.

2.1. Tasks and duties of a postdoc

  • Writing scientific papers and participating in relevant conferences and workshops.
  • Searching for data on both wildlife and socio-economy from different sources and existing databases, handling the data, creating databases in cooperation with PhD students and technical staff.
  • Supervising PhD students.
  • Contacting experts in mammalogy, ornithology, ecology and social and economic sciences to learn about the study systems and results obtained.
  • Field work: participating in collecting data on birds and mammals with the help of recording devices and small mammal trapping.
  • Analysing data collected, preparing visualisations of the results.
  • Participating in the NCN project management and administration may be involved but up to a level not exceeding 10% of full-time.

2.2. Mandatory qualifications and skills

  • PhD in Biology, Ecology or other relevant subject (but also candidates with socio-economy profiles will be considered) obtained within the last 7 years.
  • Documented publication record in ecology or environmental sociology.
  • Good written and spoken English.
  • At least basic knowledge on European birds or bats.
  • Skills in the use of statistical methods in scientific research.
  • Knowledge on R language and environment and experience in processing large datasets.
  • Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills, analytical and problem-solving skills. The ability to work both as a team member and to take initiatives and work independently are essential.

2.3. Additional (non-obligatory) preferred qualifications

  • Valid driving licence (highly recommended).
  • Experience in field work, especially with birds or bats.
  • Experience with qualitative-quantitative-social science questionnaires or interviews.
  • Knowledge in using GIS software.
  • Experience in bioacoustics.
  • Good spoken Polish, as you may need to work with Polish publications.

2.4. Additional things to consider

  • You will need to be present and work in Białowieża, Poland (52.70398N, 23.84985E) most of the 2-year period of the contract. This is a very nice but remote place (ca. 1500 inhabitants), ca 20 km from a nearest town.
  • Substantial part of your work will be based on computer work in the Institute (GIS analyses, statistics, reading scientific literature, writing manuscripts, etc.) so be aware that fieldwork will constitute only part of your activity.
  • If you are already hired somewhere or involved in other projects and seeking for additional activity, our project will not be a good choice – we expect you to be full-time involved in the project in MRIPAS.
  1. What do we offer?

We offer a postdoc excellent conditions to expand her/his scientific interests – Mammal Research Institute is a place you can develop as a researcher, you will be involved in scientific research, overall scientific community, you will be part of the team, and you will have prospects after you finish. More specifically, we offer:

  • A tight cooperation with our friendly research team: the project leader, two PhD students (one from Poland, one from Italy) and other MRIPAS staff members: discussing concepts of the papers, help with data analysing and scientific writing.
  • Availability of high-quality ecological data collected during the first year of the project.
  • Monthly gross salary 8377 PLN (i.e., ca 5950 PLN net; the highest allowed for post-doc position financed by National Science Centre), ensuring good life standard in Poland (note that living in Poland is much cheaper than in Western Europe).
  • We offer full-time employment for 1 year, starting asap, with possibility to prolong the position for another year.
  • Help with accommodation – we have relatively inexpensive flats in Białowieża (although limited in number), situated close to MRIPAS, that can be rented, when available, by MRIPAS postdocs.
  • Possibility to develop your own ideas and to apply for your own scientific projects (in cooperation and with support from other MRIPAS staff).
  • Possibility to work and live in a really welcoming place: a small village located in the middle of Białowieża Primeval Forest – one of the most important biodiversity hotspot in Europe, and MRIPAS main building is located 1.2 km from the strict reserve of Białowieża National Park, so you have a chance to see a deer, wolf or bison from your office room!
  1. Application and recruitment

4.1. Deadline for applying

We welcome your application no later than 2022-12-31, but if possible, please apply earlier.

Planned dates for interview (via Zoom): 2023-01-02 to 2023-01-15.

Final result will be announced no later than 2023-01-20.

Beginning of the contract: depends on you, but we are ready to start in Jan23.

4.2. Documents that need to be delivered

  • Copy of your PhD diploma.
  • A full-text version (pdf/word file) of your PhD thesis.
  • A written application letter where you describe yourself, your motivation for applying for the postdoc position and research interests, and describing the required qualifications (max 2 pages).
  • A curriculum vitae that includes your education, academic record, former experience in ecological research, skills (languages, programs, methods), conferences, workshops, courses, internships, awards, and publications.
  • A list of at least two reference persons (e.g., prior research supervisors) familiar with your qualifications, together with their e-mail addresses.
  • Declaration of consent for processing of personal data, attached below (only first signed page should be scanned and delivered through e-mail).

Documents should be send via e-mail to the project leader Michał Żmihorski: zmihorski@ibs.bialowieza.pl

4.3. Recruitment

The recruitment rules will follow NCN regulations. The selection will be based on the qualifications of the candidates including scientific achievements, experience, awards, internships, skills and competences. An interview will be part of the selection of candidates. Recruitment is a two-stage process and includes: 1) evaluation of candidates’ documentation and 2) an interview with selected candidates (you will be asked to shortly present your PhD thesis).

  1. Contact person

Michał Żmihorski (zmihorski@ibs.bialowieza.pl; https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Michal-Zmihorski) is a principal investigator of the project. It is highly recommended that you contact me as soon as you decide to apply for this position. If you want to learn details concerning the project, the post-doc duties or necessary qualifications and any other important issues related with the project – I will be very happy to informally meet and talk to potential candidates (e.g., via Zoom), so do not hesitate to contact me.